Something about it caught my eye and I decided to click the start button. As the video began, I was squinting at the screen trying to make out exactly what I was watching. After a moment, I realized two swans had gotten themselves tangled together. They were floating helplessly in the water, as either there was nothing more they could do, or they were too tired to keep trying, maybe both. I watched as they continued to float aimlessly until they spotted some people walking nearby. It was interesting to see that they began working together, pushing themselves closer to the edge, so that they could position themselves directly at the feet of a man who bravely decided to help. This man assessed the situation for a few moments and then got to work. Gently lifting a fragile wing, he moved one of the necks over to the opposite side. Amazingly, not once did either one of the swans try to fight this guy. It was if they recognized they knew fighting is what caused them to get into this mess in the first place and they needed to be still and allow their helper to do his thing. Realizing another wing was twisted, he again assessed the situation. He had to extend an intertwined wing, causing a bit of discomfort to the swan, but with a few more deliberate movements, he was able to free them! Swan A, (let’s call him Chuck), quickly ran away from view and Swan B, (Fred) needed to take some time, as his wings had been ruffled a bit out of shape. He stretched them as far as they could go and flapped them several times before he began running, apparently trying to get back into the water; but he was going in the opposite direction and heading into some high brush where he clearly would have had some trouble navigating. The hero of the video followed Fred, picked him up, walked back to where the ordeal began, and placed him gently in the water. Fred instantly began swimming away, hopefully staying out of trouble and able to enjoy his restored freedom.
I couldn’t help but think of how those Swans reminded me of various seasons in my life. More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself in the midst of some sort of dilemma; sometimes involving others and sometimes it’s just me, but a dilemma nonetheless; and sometimes my feathers were ruffled and I really didn’t know what to do to fix them. It’s so easy to be in the midst of the chaos and thrash about trying to find a solution but not able to fully grasp the fact that, while thrashing, it’s just getting worse.
What if, instead of the typical responses of, “Oh, it’s not a big deal and it’s not my fault,” “I can handle this on my own,” or “I’m not going to let anyone know and it will just go away,” we decided to instantly stop and take a good hard look at what’s really going on; allowing ourselves the time to evaluate the situation and take the steps needed to correct the real problem instead of either doing “just enough” to make it go away for a while, or ignoring it all together until it can no longer be ignored?
I used to be a procrastinator when it came to dealing with things, especially things that caused me to go outside of my comfort zone or things that caused me to deal with painful issues. Procrastination in itself can be exhausting – especially emotionally if you’re trying to avoid confrontation or are worried about what others might think. I have however, learned the best way to deal with anything is head on – putting the entire mess out on the table and taking it “feather by feather” until it’s finally all sorted out. This means sometimes having to go to others and say “You know, I can’t handle this on my own” or, “Hey, I’m sorry I said/did that – can we talk?” or most recently, tackling the bully within to stop being the one who’s holding myself back.
Who are you in your own “Swan story”? Chuck, who just wants to get out of the heat of it and runs away? Fred, who really needs help to get back on track? Or are you the “hero”, who steps back, assesses the situation, and then does what’s needed to clear it up? I’ve been both Chuck and Fred at any given time but I’m thankful that I have a “Hero” who I can go to at any given moment who helps me sort it out. I’ve learned that I’m in control of how long it takes for a situation to go from burden to blessing and it’s basically the amount of time it takes me to give that burden to God and let Him help me sort it out. Hoping that whether you’re Chuck or Fred, you realize He’s there to help you too.